In 1966, Kartemquin Films began making documentaries that examine and critique society through the stories of real people. Their documentaries, such as The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams and The New Americans, are among the most acclaimed of all time, leaving a lasting impact on millions of viewers.

Kartemquin Films is a home for independent media makers who seek to create social change through film. With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on over 45 years of being Chicago’s documentary powerhouse. Kartemquin is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.

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Our History

For over 45 years, Kartemquin Films has been making documentaries that examine and critique society through the stories of real people.

Kartemquin's first film in 1966, Home For Life - a powerful chronicle of two elderly people entering a home for the aged - established the direction the organization would take over the next four decades.  With a record number of films currently in development and production, Kartemquin is poised to continue this legacy for years to come.  A proud recipient of one of eight international 2007 MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, Kartemquin has been described by the Chicago Reader as a “documentary powerhouse.” In 1997 The Chicago Film Critics Association gave Kartemquin their Big Shoulders Award for outstanding service to the film community and the world, and in 2010 Kartemquin was honored with the Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award for “unflinchingly holding up a mirror to American society.”

Learn the history of Kartemquin